An agreement was reached Thursday between the Abitibiwinni First Nation, located in Abitibi, and Quebec for the creation of a strategic committee to strengthen political, economic and social relations between the parties.

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The agreement between the First Nation and Quebec will notably facilitate economic negotiations, using a consultation mechanism for issues related to protected areas, forestry and economic development.

Quebec will pay a sum into a fund established and managed by the Abitibiwinni First Nation to enable it to benefit more from the economic spinoffs of mining activity.

In addition, the Chicobie sector, a territory of 224.6 km2, will now be a protected area. The Abitibiwinni First Nation is delighted to have reached an agreement with Quebec.

“This agreement is one more step towards the full recognition of the rights of the Abitibiwinni First Nation,” Abitibiwinni First Nation Chief Monik Kistabish said in a statement. We are proud to be able to contribute and actively participate in the management of the natural resources of our unceded ancestral territory. I welcome Quebec’s response to our request to create a protected area in the Chicobi sector as well as an economic spinoff fund for mining activity.”

For his part, the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, indicated that it was important to establish a relationship of trust with the First Nations.

“The Government of Quebec is intensifying dialogue with the First Nations and the Inuit people in order to improve its relations with these communities and to solidify the bonds of trust sometimes tested over generations,” he said. […] I am hopeful that we are witnessing the beginning of a new chapter, which will bring fulfillment and contentment to all signatory parties.”

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